8 Avenue Matignon
75008 Paris France
For the second exhibition Perrotin’s 8 avenue Matignon gallery presents Tout n’est qu’influence (It’s All About Influence), an exhibition highlighting the influence of some of the most emblematic Pop Art, Surrealist and Post-Impressionist artists on the work of three major figures of 20th-century design: Ettore Sottsass, François-Xavier Lalanne and Jean Royère.
The group show unfolds across three floors in a protean scenography conceived by Cécile Degos. On the ground floor, Ettore Sottsass’s totems and vases are presented side by side with Pop Art works by Tom Wesselmann, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. On the first floor, François-Xavier Lalanne’s animals stand alongside Surrealist works by René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, and opposite two portraits of Diego Giacometti by his brother Alberto. The second floor features Jean Royère’s furniture in front of artworks by Henri Rousseau, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder.
ETTORE SOTTSASS AND POP ART
Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) is celebrated as one of the leading Italian architects and designers of the second half of the 20th century. In 1961 he traveled to India, whose colors, customs and spirituality jostled his view of the world. Upon his return, Sottsass became ill and was hospitalized in California the following year. This journey proved fundamental due to his discovery of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns’s Pop Art, which became an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Recently honored with a major retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Ettore Sottsass’s ceramic and glass works are considered the highest expression of his visual language.
“What fascinated me was that the artists took everyday topics, daily life, as their subjects. Banality was their universe. Instead of Madonnas, Christs, they were interested in fruit bowls, soup cans, cars. Their signature was the language of the street.”
THE SURREALISTS AND THEIR CIRCLE
Born in France, the sculptor François-Xavier Lalanne (1927–2008) is acclaimed for establishing the animal and natural world as the foundation of his designs. Meeting his future wife, Claude (1925–2019), gave a new impetus to his career. Their paths crossed in a symbiotic work combining sculpture and decoration from which hybrid objects emerge. In 1964, François-Xavier introduced his “Rhinocrétaire,” a rhinoceros sculpture that turns into a desk, and Claude the “Choupattes,” half-cabbage, half-animal sculptures.
Influenced by the Surrealism of
René Magritte or Salvador Dalí with whom they formed tight friendships,
Lalanne’s fantastic bestiary—sheep, hippos, geese, fish and monkeys,
among others—became iconic on the international art scene, quickly
reaching the interiors of high society whose members regularly spent
time in the Lalanne house-atelier in Ury. By diverting the conventional
codes of design, Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s sculpture-objects are
among the most appreciated pieces across all generations. They can
be found in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou, the
Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Mobilier National in Paris; the Cooper
Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; and Museum
Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
«The “Surrealism” of these sculptures [Les Moutons] was immediately recognized but only recently has a direct precedent emerged in connection with the most famous of the original Surrealists, Salvador Dalí»
JEAN ROYÈRE AND THE FREE-FORM LEGACY
Praised as one of the greatest French designers of the 20th century for the sober and timeless elegance of his creations, Jean Royère (1902– 1981) became a designer at the age of 29. Without prior training but endowed with a natural propensity towards furniture design, he set himself apart from his contemporaries with an innovative style based on clean lines, sinuous waves and a range of organic forms that would later become the keystone of his work. Among the emblematic pieces that lead him to global success are the «Egg» armchairs (circa 1954), the «Polar Bear» sofas (1955) and the «Liane» wall lamps (circa 1960). But his remarkable use of materials also extends to straw marquetry, a French tradition dating back to the 17th century, which he revived within the context of several major commissions in the early 1950s.
As ornament and nature-driven inspiration are at the heart of his approach, the work of Jean Royère alludes to Henri Rousseau’s lush forests or Henri Matisse’s motifs, while playing off lights and shadows like Alexander Calder’s Mobiles. Today, his sought-after pieces have joined the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
«The designer [Jean Royère] worked on […] his pieces as much as on their possible shadows cast on the ground or on the walls! This “detail” shows all the refinement of Jean Royère, who is concerned with the elegance of shadows produced by the object, as is Alexander Calder with the shadows of his Mobiles»